American Gods producer FremantleMedia is seeking funding for 35 scripted series and has launched nearly a dozen international scripted production hubs as it doubles down on its drama push.
The company revealed the scale of growth of its scripted business as part of its parent company RTL’s first-half financials, which saw it boost group revenue by 2.3% to €3.05B (US$3.5B).
FremantleMedia has seen drama revenue grow from 2% of its total revenue in 2015 to 11% this year thanks to the success of recent dramas such as Picnic At Hanging Rock and Netflix’s The Rain. Next year, the producer and distributor highlighted the launch of shows such as the second seasons of The Young Pope and American Gods, C4’s Baghdad Central, BBC One’s Dublin Murders and ITV’s Beecham House.
Bert Habets, Chief Executive Officer of RTL Group, said, “This local, exclusive content focus is the power engine for our Total Video offers. Especially with FremantleMedia’s push into scripted drama, we are fuelling our content pipeline. Currently, FremantleMedia is seeking funding for at least 35 scripted series ideas that we want to realize. As a consequence, international drama productions will already generate more than 20% of FremantleMedia’s total revenue in 2019.”
FremantleMedia’s revenue grew from €639M in the first half of 2017 to €672M this year, while EBITDA remained steady at €42M. The return of American Idol, which has been renewed for a second season on ABC, also helped this growth. “We expect this format to increase its profitability in the second season on ABC,” added Habets.
Habets also gave his thoughts on the current wave of consolidation within the U.S. TV sector and said he expects to see this cross over to Europe. “We basically see an increase in consolidation in the U.S. market, which might have an impact on the European setting but I expect the consolidation in Europe to be more difficult as the synergies are more limited than in the U.S. There might be some cooperation but I would find it difficult to see the [same] consolidation wave in the European landscape.”